Playing Tooth Fairy

Well, the triplets have reached that age.

No, not the age were we can send them off into the world to fend for themselves, tempting as that may be, that is not the age I am talking about.

The triplets have reached the age where they are loosing teeth. Dropping those little pearly whites like we have never brushed their teeth, taken them to the dentist and fed them sugar since birth.

Ok, maybe not dropping them that fast and so far only Jake and Quinn have lost teeth but I know more are coming. The dam is about to break and soon I may need mash up all their food since they won’t have any teeth left in their heads.

Every day one of them will tell me, “Mom, this tooth is loose or this tooth hurts.” I’m preparing myself to see a lot of toothless grins.

What does reaching this right of passage mean, besides the fact that the next time I blink my three babies will be asking for the keys to the car? Well, it means that Jeff and I get to play tooth fairy.

Childhood is grand for it’s innocence and the belief in magic. I’m all for keeping it that was as long as possible. It’s just that having to play tooth fairy or more honestly, remembering to play the tooth fairy is hard.

You would think that since it’s happening more and more often around this house it would get easier but no, it’s not.

I mean poor Quinn, the second tooth he lost the tooth fairy forgot to come for two nights in a row. How are she do that to him. Poor kid was crushed. And my mommy guilt was at an all time high so much so I begged Jeff to give me lashes with a wet noodle.

I don’t mean to forget and neither does Jeff but for some reason, slipping into their rooms and exchanging that tooth for a golden dollar is one of the most difficult things in the world. I think it would be easier to get Kim Kardashian’s stop being a reality TV star.

We’ve tried all kinds of ways to remember, setting alerts, writing notes, even asking the cat to remind us. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.

boy with a lost tooth

This time it was Jake’s turn to loose a tooth. Actually, I pulled it out during our family movie night movie because I was kind of sick of seeing it dandle by a thread. It was his first loose tooth, the first one he lost and judging but the loose ones next to it, it won’t be long until another one can be yanked from his head.

As we tucked the kids in and said prayers, he put that tooth under his pillow and talked non-stop about how the tooth fairy would come. Jeff and I gave each other ‘the look’ and as soon as the kids were all in bed, Jeff retrieved a golden dollar from the hiding spot.

“What are you doing?” I ask as Jeff started up the stairs again.

“Going to make the exchange,” he said.

“Um… they just went to bed. We kinda have to wait until he’s asleep.” I said.

“Oh, yeah” Jeff answered as he walked back down. “Where should I put this so that we will remember to do it later?”

I stopped for a moment, that was the million dollar question.

“Just set it on the counter, then we’ll see it when we head to bed,” I said.

Jeff walked over to the counter and set the golden dollar down but then paused. “The only thing that setting his coin here will mean is that Jake will find it here and not under his pillow in the morning.”

I laughed, he had an excellent point.

“Do you have a better idea?” I asked.

He shrugged and I turned my attention to my phone that was beeping with some twitter love.

The night progressed as planned with Jeff and I settling in to watch a movie together which meant that soon all tooth fairy duties were forgotten.

We were mid movie when I needed a bathroom break.

“Pause it, please” I said as I jumped up and ran into our bedroom and to the bathroom.

I flipped the light on in the room and something on the bed made me stop. I walked over to investigate.

A baking pan?!

At first I was confused, why was there a baking pan on the bed? I almost gathered it up to put it away but then I saw the golden dollar and smiled. Jeff had placed the baking pan on the bed with the golden dollar in it so that he couldn’t get into bed without dealing with the pan and remembering to play tooth fairy.

Sometimes that husband of mine is completely brilliant.

I think I’ll keep him.

 

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Six Year Old Sex Ed

Sex-Ed

“Mommy, what’s that circle thingy under my penis where the pee comes from?” Jake asked from the top of the stairs.

It was just after bath time. The kids were getting pj’s on and I was finishing cleaning up dinner. I set the dish down that I was washing, grabbed a towel and walked over to him,  “What?” I said, very confused.

“That circle thingy under my penis has all the lines on it, what is that?” he asked again, not really clearing things up any.

I just looked at him, for the life of me I couldn’t figure out what in the world he was talking about. Circle thing?

“Jake, that is your pee sack,” Quinn jumped in and clarified. “It holds all your pee.”

Finally the light bulb went off and I understood what he was talking about. Jake was asking about his scrotum.

Now, I kinda think that because I don’t have a penis, I shouldn’t have to teach the boys about theirs. I will talk vagina all day long with Claire but I am not the penis expert in the house. I wanted to call for Jeff to field this line of questioning. He has a penis he should answer the questions but I am a nurse for goodness sake, I can handle this. It is just anatomy.

“Boys,” I began, “that is not your ‘pee sack’ or where pee comes from, it is called your scrotum and it holds your testicles.”

They just looked at me and immediately both their hands went south and began to fondle.

“What’s testmacles?” Quinn asked.

Oh man. I totally opened that door. Now how was I supposed to explain what testicles were for without going giving a full sex ed lesson. I was walking a very fine line.

I decided being honest and scientific was the only way. Let the questions come, I am good at dancing around things and confusing them with science and big words if needed.

“You need your testicles because they make something that you will need to make a baby. Then you will need a mommy and a daddy to make a baby.” I said.

“How does that work?” Quinn asked, being ever curious about the way things work.

Oh shit. Deep breathes. I can do this.

But before I could figure out an appropriate answer to Quinn’s question, Jake asked, “Well are they, um… bone or metal? Because I really think I should have some medal in my body.”

Say what?

I tried to process what Jake was asking and stop from self from laugh so hard that I would need to change my underwear as Claire busted from her room, naked as the day she was born.

“I HAVE A VAGINA!” she screamed while running.

Both boys giggled at Claire and I knew that I loosing hold of this little anatomy lesson.

“Testicles are not medal or bone. They are organs and squishy,” I tried to explain but Claire doing her version of naked aerobics was more interesting, then listening to me.

“Claire.” I said, “Will you put your vagina away.”

As the words spilled from my mouth, I shook my head. Oh the things I have to say as a mother. Also, if I ever have to say that again, especially during those teen years, it will be too soon.

I took a deep breath. I wanted to continue teaching them about their bodies. This was good stuff to know. But  now all three kids were giggling and jumping around naked. Body parts were going every where.

I sighed, my lesson was done.

And as the three started scooting their naked butt on the carpet like dogs  I yelled… “ALRIGHT!  PLEASE PUT YOUR PENISES AND VAGINA AWAY!”

Yup, subject closed.

Video Store View

Video-Store (1)

“How about a pizza and movie night?” I texted into my phone to Jeff.

I really didn’t feel like making dinner. Heck, I don’t feel like making dinner most nights but it’s something that has to be done. There are only so many nights a week that I can convince the kids that cereal really is not just for breakfast.

Beside, it was Friday. I’ll make dinner all through the week but come the weekend, I want to be done. In fact, cooking on the weekend should be outlawed unless the restaurant is doing it.

“Had pizza for lunch but sure” my phone beeped with Jeff’s response.

Hot damn. I just figured out dinner.

“Hey, kids!” I yelled causing them to all run to me, “How about a family movie night?”

Yay!!!!” they all screamed and started jumping around.

I smiled at their excitement. I had to admit, I was pretty excited too. It’s just a little something, eating pizza on the floor in front of the TV, but it’s us… all together just being a family. And it’s fun until someone knocks over a drink, steps in the pizza and kicks a sibling in the head but that is beside the point.

“Ok, grab your shoes… let’s go to the video store.” I said getting my purse and keys.

The kids scrambled to find their shoes and then one by one got into the van an belted up.

We don’t really need to go to the video store to get a movie. We have Netflix and Direct TV and goodness knows, when we rent a video we always end up with late fees but there is just something about going into the video store that I like.

It reminds me of when I was kid. First my parents taking me and my brother and sister there on Friday nights to pick out movies then going there with friends to find the scariest movie we were allowed to watch. The video store was where I was asked out on my very first date. He asked me to watch a movie with me while at the video store. Original, huh?

I just like going. I think it’s along the same lines as why I like going to the library. With eReaders and online books, I don’t really need books or the library but I still go. I want to hold that book in my hands and it’s the same with the DVDs.

“Mommy, can we get two bideos?” Quinn asked

“Oh and maybe a Wii game? Please, mommy… Please!” Jake chimed in and begged.

“No, no games,” I said as I held the door open for them to enter the store. “And we will see about getting 2 movies.”

When we entered the store the kids scattered, Hayden and Jake to the video game section, Quinn to the animal section and Claire to drool over Spider Man. I went to walk the wall of all the new release to see if I could find that magical movie that would entertain the kids while not making Jeff and I want to slowly remove our eye balls with spoons.

I took a DVD off the shelf to look at it when Quinn came up and stood be side me. He didn’t say anything, just stood there, kind of dancing around and every now again touching his boys parts.

“Do you have to go potty?” I asked setting down the DVD.

“No,” he said matter of factly.

“Really?” I said as he now stood beside me legs crossed, hand holding himself, totally doing the ‘I gotta pee’ dance. “How about we find a bathroom?”

I took his hand and we walked to the back of the store. There were two doors down a small hall. One was closed and one was half open. I pushed Quinn into the half open one to go into the bathroom alone, while I stood by the door and kept an eye out of the other kids.

Quinn was in the room for a few minutes and then returned still doing the ‘I gotta pee’ dance.

“Did you go?” I asked.

He shook his head.

I began to get annoyed with him because why in the world would he go into the bathroom and not pee? What in the world was he doing  in there?

I opened the door wide to check things out and gasped.

As it turns out, I did not push my newly 6 year old son into the bathroom but into the ‘adult only’ porn room of the video store.

I slinked back into the hall, closing the door and quickly opening the other one which thank God, was an actual bathroom.

Then I waited, chewing on my nail. I knew he was in that room long enough to see things. I knew he was an observant child. I knew he was going to say something.

“Mommy” he said

Oh Lord, here it comes.

“Why was that lady licking that man’s penis?” he asked.

Bam. There is was. And straight to the point.

I answered in the only way possible, “Because. Now why don’y you go pick out some candy but no lollipops.”

Quiet at the Dinner Table

A lot of times when we sit down to eat dinner, I am just quiet.

There is no real reason. I just don’t feel like talking. I think it’s because sitting down to dinner is my signal that we are in the home stretch. The witching hour is drawing to a close and bedtime is around the corner. It’s time for c0-parenting and mostly importantly, it’s probably the first time that I sat down in hours.

I just want to be quiet, be still, eat. And by doing this, I am open to listen.

I hear things like, “Yuck. I am not going to eat this.”

“This is gross. It can’t be food.”

“Is there any bessert?”

But every now and again I hear,  “Thanks for making the food, mom.”

My heart just melts. It doesn’t matter that the one who said it said it because the others were complaining about the food and he is trying to stay on my good side. He said it and I’ll take it.

I look around the table and the people sitting there, the people most important to me in the world and sometimes I get overwhelmed. There is this feeling that washes over me that I can’t explain. It steals my breath so that I couldn’t talk if I wanted too.

I study each person, really looking at them. I remember who they were when they were small and see who they are now.

I don’t feel worthy.

I yell. I scream. I cuss.

I focus on my own needs sometimes more then theirs.

I don’t want to read a bedtime story.

I don’t want to look at this one quick thing.

I fail.

And I do it over and over again.

I constantly question, ‘am I enough?”

But then one of them will catch my eye and smile at me or come over and put their arms around me in a  hug. They don’t know it but it’s in those moments that they save me. They reaffirm that I am enough, that I am what they need most.

children around the dinner table

I can’t help but smile at them. Their chatter makes me laugh. Especially the conversations from the littlest ones while they discuss the drama that is kindergarten.

“I like it when Ava kisses me,” Quinn says with a sheepish grin.

“Ew. Gross. How can you like that” Jake answers with a disgusted tone. “Girls are yucky.”

“No they are not,” Quinn defends himself, “Girls are pretty and I like it when they kiss me. Like when Ava does and Olivia and Kelly.”

I want to say something, tell them there is plenty of time for kissing girls, tell them that 5 is not the age to be worried about kissing but I stay quiet. I just listen.

“My teacher says that kissing is just for your family,” Claire announces, proud to tell of her classroom.

“But I can’t help it if the girls are always kissing me. I want them too. I don’t want to tell them no,” Quinn says exasperated.

“You could run away,” Jake adds.

“No. No. Don’t do that,” Claire adds, “Girls don’t like it when you run away from them. Just marry them instead.”

I can’t hold it in anymore and I laugh. I laugh until my sides ache and I’m gasping for breath. On one hand they are so young and have no idea but on the other hand, they know exactly how it works.

“You all should eat now,” I say when I can breathe again. “We can discuss who you are going to marry another time.”

There is a silence that falls around the table, only the sounds of chewing with the occasional burp and giggle.

“I don’t want to kiss any girls,” Jake says, breaking the stillness of the room.

“You don’t have too,” Hayden says speaking up for the first time. “because maybe you will can kiss a boy. You can’t help who you love or want to kiss.”

I can’t help but smile and my sweet insightful son. He’s right. He has no idea why, to him is just that simple. Love is love.

And that is why I listen. They are so young but so wise. They see the world as pure and beautiful.

I’m supposed to be their teacher but each day, if I can forget how the ride my last nerve and sometimes cause me to wish for a padded cell in the loony bin, they teach me something.

And that is why I’m quiet at the dinner table.

The Missed Lesson of Touching

“Mommy, we learned about touches today,” Quinn said at the top of his voice trying to be heard over every one else as he got into the van after the school bus dropped them off.

This happens every day when they get off the bus. They are filled with so many things that they want to tell me. They just begin spewing information and it is my job to try and understand each one. I must process four people’s thoughts being hurled at me. I try to ask them to talk just one at a time but they can’t. It’s impossible.

Before the bus comes,  I sit at the end of our road waiting, I do some deep breathing. I take long relaxing cleansing breaths. I do this to center myself, to prepare for what will happen when those bus doors open and all my children bust from it like water crashing through a dam.

home from school

As soon as they see me, before their feet touch the pavement, the chorus begins. “Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom!” all four of them calling out at once.

It’s like all day they must mind the rules and wait their turn and when they get home, the gloves come off, they must out talk each other. And the louder the better.

I usually don’t try to stop them. I want to hear about their day. I want to be told the stories of what happened on the playground and who tried to kiss who and who got to be outstanding and who was moved to ‘think about it’.

I use every ounce of brain power I have to listen and decipher the words to make the stories make sense.  Sometimes it works and sometimes I am left so confused the only thing I can do is smile and nod.

“Touches?!” I say confused, “What do you mean.”

“Oh-oh-oh” Claire chimes in and stumbles over her words, to excited to get them out, “Like nice touches, not sure touches and selfish touches.”

“Claire, I was going to say that,” Quinn says and then adds, “Yeah, those kind of touches.”

I am still confused. Like kids tend to do, they didn’t explain anything but simply repeated themselves.

As I empty backpacks and folders, I find the answer. Pamphlets sent home explain and then I remember, oh yeah… I signed permission slips for them to be taught this.

It’s sad that kids need to be taught these things but I’m glad that they are. This is just one more tool that my kids have been given to keep them safe.

They learned that Nice Touches makes you feel happy, loved and excited. And Not sure Touches make you feel weird. Then Selfish Touches make you feel sad, mad and yucky. They were taught what to do if any of these touches happen.

“Mom, a selfish touch is never ok,” Claire instructed me.

“That’s right honey,” I said as sort papers looking for homework assignments. “What should you do if you get a selfish touch?”

“We need to tell a grown up that we trust,” she said and then trotted away to play.

“Well the lesson has been imprinted on her. Good to know,” I thought to myself.

I opened a lunch box and rolled by eyes at the yogurt explosion. Why the kids think its a good idea to take an open half eaten yogurt back home is beyond me.

“Mommy,” Quinn said.

I turned to face him. In the chaos of after school and being that he is the meekest child, Quinn doesn’t get heard very often so I like to make a point to really listen to him. I got down on his level, ready to listen.

“These are your private parts,” he said as he reached out and squeezed my boobs, “and no one gets to touch them.”

Then taking a cue from his sister, he too ran into the living room.

“Um…” I begin but stop since he was gone. Apparently, this one needs a little more teaching on this lesson.

The Cookies Ruined Me

Do you know what making close to 400 cookies will do to a person? Make them go slightly crazy. That is what it’ll do.

I spent the morning yesterday at my son’s school making, packaging and counting cookies. Like in a tiny room with convection ovens, frozen cookie dough and one other woman. Thank God she was cool or I probably would have lost my mind. I also had to do a whole lot of math because, of course, these cookies were for a fund raiser for the school. I had to count, sort and roll money, like cash money because the school doesn’t take credit cards.

After three hours of this, my brain was fried, I was saturated in sugar and I smelled like a cookie.

Also, I was exhausted… like body aches exhausted. I felt like a had worked out for a whole 15 minutes at the gym. The muscles in my arms ached. My back was saying ‘fuck you’ and my feet just gave up.  Who knew making cookies was such a physically demanding job?

I couldn’t wait to go to bed. I was ready to just put the day behind me and get some rest.

Jeff went to bed before me and was snoring loudly due to his cold when I slid in. I curled up on my side, pressed my body pillow, Legolas, between my legs and planned my out fit for the next day in my head, a task that makes me happy and always puts me right to sleep.

When I finally entered dreamland, I had the faint smell of cookies in my nose.

The next thing I knew I was in the kitchen of the farmhouse my mom grew up in, in Iowa and she and my grandma were making cookies to give to Edward Cullen to congratulate him on his wedding.

“Do vampires even liked cookies?” I wondered but since my grandma kept pulling more and more out of the oven, I figured she knew something I didn’t.

We put all the cookies in boxes and and loaded them into my van. Then my mom and I set off to deliver them by driving all the way to Washington state. As we headed off on our journey, I looked up and the sky and could tell something wasn’t just right. There was a storm coming, I could feel it in my bones.

I wondered if we should stay at the house and wait but my mom had already started the van so I jumped in and we were off.

As we drove, I watched the sky get angrier and angrier. Then I saw funnel clouds begin to form and touch down.

“MOM!,” I yelled, “Look! I think a twisters com’n!”

“I have to get these cookies to Edward,” she screamed.

Suddenly the sky was black and in front of us where five funnel clouds all moving right for us. I could feel the van begin to shake, cookies leapt from their boxes and the only thing I heard was the roaring of a freight train.

“WE HAVE TO STOP AND TAKE COVER!” I yelled through the noise of the storm.

My mom stopped the van in the middle of the road and we both crawled into the back and laid on the floor. Cookies spilled all over us and the horrific noises filled my ears. I felt like I was being tumbled in a dryer with cookies. Soon, I could no longer keep the contents of my stomach down.

That was when I woke up. The burning of vomit in my esophagus brought me back to the here and now.

My heart was racing and I had vomit in my mouth. It took me a minute to realize that I was home, safe. Unfortunately, my brain made me swallow the contents of my mouth back down.  Ew!

I rubbed the middle of my chest, oh the burning.

I got up to get some Tums and a glass of milk, still shaken by my dream. I felt unsteady on my feet and I could still hear the roaring of the storm in my ears. I walked into the kitchen a crossed over to the skin and turned the light on.

I turned around and…

“OH SWEET JESUS!!!” I screamed.

“AHHHHH!” the little person screamed back at me.

“QUINN!” I yelled, “WHAT IN THE WORLD ARE YOU DOING IN THE KITCHEN!?”

“Mommy, I was scared of the dark.” he said with a whimper.

I picked him up and hugged him, “You were scared of the dark in your room where there is a nightlight so you came downstairs to the dark kitchen to sit?”

He nodded.

“Why didn’t you come and get me?” I asked

“I was trying to get to you but I couldn’t see the way because it was dark,” he answered, now sobbing.

I took a breath to say something but there was nothing so I hugged him close  instead.

“Let’s get a drink of milk and then I’ll tuck you back into bed,” I finally said.

I gathered him in my arms and back up the stairs we went. I tucked him in, prayed that Jesus give him only good dreams and then closed the door as I felt.

As I walked back to my bed, I tried to process what the hell just happened. The only solution… this had to be because of all the cookies.

Apparently, the cookies ruined me.

No Gum Until You Are 16!

I hate chewing gum.

Ok, fine. I’m a bit of a hypocrite when I say that because I do chew gum myself but only at work and it’s only to get rid of my coffee breath before I see my patients. There is nothing worse then not feeling good and having a nurse with coffee stink breath in your face.

I guess what I really hate about chewing gum is little kids having gum.  I feel like gum has no place in the mouths of children.

I didn’t always feel this way.

No, I used to allow my kids to have gum once in a while. They would chew it for a while and then swallow it and that was that. But then one day Quinn decided to take a piece of gum he was chewing on and when he didn’t want it anymore, set it on our brand new couch and then I proceeded to sit on it while wearing my favorite (and only) pair of designer jeans.

I was able to save the couch but my jeans… not so much.

So that was when I made the rule that in this house, children are not allowed to have gum until they are 15.

Well when you take something away from someone that they really really like, they only want it more. And that would be Quinn. That little dude has a big hard on for gum. He is always trying to sneak a piece or ask me, “Mommy, will I be 15 tomorrow?”

The way he looks at me with his big eyes almost makes me want to cave but then I remember my couch, my jeans and the annoying chewing gum chewers make and I hold firm.

Yup, just call me the meanest mom in the world.

The kids and I took a quick trip to Target to pick up 2 things we needed and leave with 20 things we didn’t. As I scanned and paid for our items, the kids ran to a near by drinking fountain for a drink. I gathered the bags and called all the kids to follow me.

Just as we were about to walk outside the door, I realized Quinn was chewing something and I didn’t remember giving anyone anything to eat.

“Quinn,” I said, “What’s in your mouth?”

Quinn stops dead in his tracks and just looks at me.

“Quinn, what is in your mouth?” I repeated.

Again, Quinn says nothing and just stares at me. I know something is up. I can read it all over his face. I figured that he was just pulling a ‘Hayden’ and found a random piece of something on the floor and popped it in his mouth to chew on because that is apparently what you do with random things on the floor.

“Quinn! What is in your mouth?!” I asked for the third time this time in my ‘very stern I am so serious you better tell me’ mom tone.

Quinn instantly begins to wail and as he does a small piece of white gum falls out from his mouth and lands at my feet.

Hayden quickly steps up to tell me what happened, that kid loves to throw his younger siblings under the bus, “Mom, he found that piece of gum at the drinking fountain and put it in his mouth to chew.”

I look at Quinn wailing and then at the chewed, ‘already been chewed’ by something else and Quinn, gum at my feet and instantly started dry heaving.

“Quinn did you put a chewed piece of gum in your mouth and start chewing on it?” I ask.

Quinn nods.

I dry heave again.

“Quinn someone else chewed that piece. That had been in someone else’s mouth,” I lectured, “We don’t do that. That’s disgusting!”

Quinn wailed louder. People around us were now watching and I knew we had to leave. I bent over picked up the piece of gum because I didn’t feel like I could just leave it there, that would be gross, and put it in the near by trash can.

I got my hand sanitizer out of my purse and scrubbed my hands, contemplated putting some in Quinn’s mouth but gave him some for his hands instead because I had to do something and we walked out of the store.

Once we reached the van, I spoke… “Quinn, when we get home you are going to brush your teeth twice and no gum until you are 16!”